CLEVELAND, Ohio – When the dust from the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak settles, Cleveland’s government and private landlords may need to help businesses stay afloat, a councilman said.
Councilman Kerry McCormack, whose ward includes much of the downtown, Ohio City and Tremont, said he already can see how the shutdowns and stay-at-home efforts have hurt businesses.
McCormack praised the coronavirus relief that City Council approved this week and Mayor Frank Jackson signed, but he warned that the of freezing interest and delaying payments on development loans from the city may not be enough.
“We need to do more, McCormack told cleveland.com. “We as a city should be looking at any type of short-term relief.”
That could involve grants or rent assistance, he said. Landlords who rent to businesses also could offer relief.
“The whole burden of this should not be on government,” McCormack said.
City Council President Kevin Kelley, in a separate interview with cleveland.com, said he’s not opposed to McCormack’s suggestions. But he said council and the administration will first need to determine how badly city revenues will be hit from lost income taxes.
By law, the city must have a balanced budget. And it will have to commit resources toward running government and providing services, such as police, fire, ambulance and trash services, Kelley said.
Jackson warned earlier this week in an online message that the city’s tax revenues likely will take a hit from a coronavirus-induced economic downturn. But he added: “We’ll get through it.”
Already the private sector has started to step up.
Kelley noted specifically a $1.5 million pledge by Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, through their Haslam 3 Foundation, to COVID-19 relief funds in Ohio.
The Haslams donated $1 million to the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund and $500,000 to the Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund.
More from Cleveland City Hall
Cleveland budget targets 1.84B in spending, Mayor Frank Jackson says its built to weather a recession
Coronavirus prompted Cleveland, Cuyahoga and Summit counties, communities to restrict services, but adjustments are being made
Cleveland’s government isn’t shutting down, although access to services is limited; finding workarounds the challenge
Cleveland, Children’s Hunger Alliance to provide free meals for children in wake of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak
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